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Fire at Ezhilagam building

Staff Reporter

— Photo: K. Pichumani

Provoking panic: Smoke billowing from the third floor of Ezhilagam building in Chepauk on Tuesday evening.

CHENNAI: Panic prevailed in the Ezhilagam building, Chepauk, on Tuesday evening after a fire broke out on its third floor. No one was injured in the incident.

Hundreds of people working in the five-storey building housing various government departments ran to safety. The cause of the fire is suspected to be an electrical short circuit. K. Dhanavel, Secretary to the Revenue Department, who was in the building, said that around 4.55 p.m., smoke started to emerge from the roof of the Joint Commissioner's (Revenue Administration) room.

“A personal clerk first spotted the smoke and alerted other staff members. Immediately, over 120 staff members on the floor were asked to evacuate,” he said.

Staff members from more than 10 offices, including the Planning Commission, Civil Supplies, Transport, Commercial Tax, Agriculture and Land Reforms were asked to leave the premises.

According to sources with the Fire and Rescue Services, the fire was reported at 5.06 p.m. and seven fire tenders from Triplicane, Egmore, Vepery, Esplanade and Teynampet were rushed to the spot. The fire was extinguished in 45 minutes. Computers, fans, a split air-conditioner, an LCD TV, some files, false sealing and woodwork in the room were charred, sources said.

The room where the fire started remained unoccupied for the last few days as the Joint Commissioner (Revenue Administration) V. Palanikumar was recently transferred. Important files with the Revenue Department records that were stored in a room nearby were not affected, said revenue officials.

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